How Many Slow Songs Should Be Played At A Wedding

How Many Slow Songs Should Be Played At A Wedding?

Last Updated on April 24, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

Amid the delightful tumult of wedding planning, selecting the perfect playlist holds a level of emotional importance that few other decisions can match.

As someone who has organized countless weddings and is a music enthusiast, I’ve learned that striking the perfect balance between slow songs and upbeat tunes is key to creating an unforgettable celebration.

So, how many slow songs should be played at a wedding? 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, let me share some insights to help you determine how many slow songs should grace your wedding day. 

How Many Slow Songs Should You Play At A Wedding?

For a perfect reception, a mix of both slow and upbeat songs is the way to go. Adding one slow song for every five fast songs is a good general guideline to strike a balance. 

Put slower songs in at special moments, like the first dance, father-daughter dance, or cake-cutting ceremony, to create an enchanting atmosphere. 

Keep everyone dancing and celebrating all night with meaningful music [1] that can create long-lasting memories.

How Many Songs Are Typically Played At Weddings?

Man Playing Piano

At a typical wedding reception, approximately 15 songs per hour are played.

“Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.”

Yip Harburg, American Lyricist 

After dinner and other rituals, dancing would usually go on for about three hours, making the total amount of music around 45 songs. 

This number, however, is subject to change based on the reception’s length, the presence or absence of speeches, and the desired tone set by the hosts. 

So, it’s essential to work closely with the DJ or band so that the playlist they create has the right mix of music, tempos, and popular songs to ensure all guests are happy.

What Is A Wedding Playlist’s Ideal Ratio Of Fast To Slow Music?

Your playlist should be tailored to the crowd and the couple’s preferences at a wedding. Generally, it’s suggested to have a ratio of 90% fast songs and 10% slow songs. 

This will give plenty of room for people to dance and be energized while having more relaxed and intimate moments. 

Besides, think about the order of the event — usually, more lively songs are good for the beginning, while slower ones come later.

How Many Special Songs Are Needed For A Wedding?

When planning a wedding, couples typically choose between two to three special songs to be played throughout the ceremony. 

This will vary depending on their individual preferences and which moments of the ceremony they would like to highlight. 

“Amid the upbeat rhythms and joyful melodies, a few slow songs gracefully dance, reminding us that love is not always a race, but a gentle sway, a tender embrace.”

Howkapow Gift Site

Popular options for these key songs include the processional for the bride’s entrance and the recessional for the exit. 

Couples may also choose songs for their first dance, father-daughter, mother-son dances, and any other moments they wish to add to their ceremony, like unity candle lighting or bouquet toss, which will require additional songs.

How Long Does Each Song At A Wedding Need To Be?

Band Playing on a Wedding

Generally, a song can last around 3 minutes, but some parts of the wedding, such as the procession, the first dance, or the father-daughter or mother-son dances, may merit playing a full song or at least 2-3 minutes of it. 

Songs can also be played full during dinner or cocktail hour as background music. 

However, tunes on the dance floor may be edited and changed over by a DJ after about 3 minutes to maintain the guests’ attention and energy.

What Songs Should Be Played During A Wedding Reception?

Commonly played wedding reception songs include Somebody Like You by Keith Urban, Best Day of My Life, She Looks So Perfect, Moves Like Jagger, and traditional wedding songs like Party Rock Anthem.

But the music selection is usually tailored to the couple’s tastes while catering to a broad audience. 

And they often pick special songs for the cake cutting, bouquet toss, and garter toss to add a touch of sentiment to these festivities. 

Read: Creative Ways To Pull Off A Surprise Wedding


Do bridesmaids walk down the aisle with the bride to the same song?

Traditionally, bridesmaids do not walk down the aisle to the same song as the bride. 

The bridesmaids usually proceed down the aisle first to a selected piece of music, followed by a different, often more dramatic or significant song for the bride’s grand entrance.

What’s the song’s name that plays when the bride and groom leave?

The song that plays when the bride and groom leave is often called the “recessional” or “exit” song. 

Check out these tips to become a DJ at a party here.

Does a slow song have to be played for the first dance?

While it’s traditional for the first dance [2] to be a slow song at a wedding, it’s no requirement. 

The song choice for the first dance should reflect personal taste, and it can certainly be an upbeat or unconventional track if it holds significance for them.

But how can you become the life of the party?

Final Thoughts

When determining the number of slow songs to include in a wedding playlist, it’s crucial to balance creating intimate moments and keeping the energy alive. 

From my experience, a good general guideline is adding one slow song for every five fast songs. It ensures that the atmosphere remains enchanting. 

On average, around 15 songs for every hour are played at a wedding reception, but this number can vary depending on various factors. 

By working closely with the DJ or band and curating a well-rounded playlist, you can create a musical journey that captivates guests and leaves them with beautiful memories of your special day.


Kimberlee Johnson
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